You could make an over/under game out of betting how long it takes Ken Overberg, S.J., to deny the doctrine of the Atonement in his homilies at Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel.

Today’s winner is “under 350 words.”

The second reading provides the context for all of this, indeed, for all of life. A liturgical hymn that the author of Colossians (who was not Paul) incorporated into the text, this passage offers a cosmic vision. At various times in the past, I have reflected with you on an alternate view in the Christian tradition that emphasizes Jesus as God’s first thought—not an afterthought to original sin. God so desires to share life and love—and in a unique way in Jesus—that God creates us in order to become one of us. Jesus lives and reveals the fullness of life and love. This passage proclaims this marvelous vision—listen carefully to the opening lines—even if a little atonement slips in at the end.